Cost Sharing

What is Cost Sharing?

Cost Sharing represents the sponsored project or program costs (direct and indirect) that would normally be borne by a sponsor but instead are covered by the University or a third party, such as a subcontractor or an unfunded collaborator. “Cost matching” is often treated interchangeably with the term “cost sharing”; however, the term “cost matching” often refers to cost sharing agreements in which the amount of sponsor funding is based on an equal or proportionate commitment (e.g., 1:1) from the University. There are three main types of cost sharing:
  • Mandatory Cost Sharing: Cost sharing required by the sponsor as a condition of eligibility for an award. Typically, a mandatory cost sharing requirement must be communicated in a proposal solicitation.  In these situations, a proposal must demonstrate/commit to the required cost sharing.  Mandatory cost sharing is typically explicitly referenced in an award document.  Mandatory cost sharing must be properly documented and tracked for cost accounting and compliance purposes.
  • Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing: Cost sharing not required by the sponsor as a condition of award but provided at the discretion of the institution. This cost sharing is referenced within a proposal and becomes a binding, auditable obligation; it is often (though not always) referenced in an award document.  Voluntary committed cost sharing must be properly documented and tracked for cost accounting and compliance purposes. 
  • Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing: Cost sharing not required by the relevant program solicitation, not referenced in the proposal or award, and not formally tracked (or auditable).  The most common form of voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is faculty or researcher effort additional to the level of effort originally committed to the sponsored project.

Cost Sharing Guidance

If a request for institutional (Office for Research) cost sharing will be made, please refer to the Office for Research Cost Sharing Guidance and to the below documents. NOTE: All letters of support from the Vice President for Research (those with cost sharing and those with no measurable support) are processed through:
Josh Richards,  Assistant Grants Officer
Office for Sponsored Research-Evanston
(847) 467-5283

Pre-award Cost Sharing

Pre-Award Process of Obtaining Institutional Commitment (with institutional resources):
Process of Obtaining a Letter of Support (with no measurable commitment of resources):

Post-Award Cost Sharing

Please refer to the below documents regarding the appropriate establishment of accounts to track on award-stage cost sharing.

Northwestern University - Office for Research

Contact :
Arthur Rubloff Building
750 N. Lake Shore Dr., 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 503-7955
1801 Maple St.
2nd Floor, Suite 2410
Evanston, IL 60201-3149
Phone: (847) 491-3003